24 CAPRICCI FOR SOLO VIOLIN, OP.1
Artist: Sergej Krylov (violin)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Release Date: 2017
The making of this CD has been one of the most complex recording projects of my career. Apart from the fact that the Capricci are intrinsically difficult in themselves, as amateur and professional players alike will know, I chose to play them on an instrument of unusual dimensions. The wonderful 1715 Stradivarius violin “Il Cremonese” that belongs to Collezioni Civiche Liutarie del Comune di Cremona (and only occasionally lent out for special events) was constructed on the “G” (Grande) mould.
What I was principally aiming to achieve was to stick as close as possible to every detail of Paganini’s original text, even when my approach, particularly in some of the Capricci, might seem arbitrary or actually flying in the face of a performance tradition that in a number of cases now seems set in stone.
Often in the past, publishers and violinists, and teachers in particular, have introduced dubious alterations to the bowing, fingering and tempo indicated in the manuscript. Instead, following the texts it was originally conceived means that the level of difficulty is substantially increased, and in certain cases (paradoxically, it may seem) reduces the spectacular quality of some passages. Performing the first Caprice at an Andante tempo (and this is only one example) makes one think again about how difficult it actually is, rather than how it is habitually perceived to be, even if doing so undoubtedly lessens its impact on listeners who are not professional musicians themselves.
When I played the complete 24 Capricci for the first time, I realised that, taken together, they actually form a continuum, one single grand Caprice whose aim, at the deepest level, is literally to mould the hands and minds of every violinist to match the composer’s technical and musical ideas.
This recording is dedicated to those who love the violin and its greatest interpreter, the unmatchable Paganini, and to all those who have yet to set out on this arduous path.